The Supreme Court's Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l decision leaves no room for abstract ideas

In a much anticipated opinion, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a fragmented en banc Federal Circuit decision

The Supreme Court issued an opinion recently on the Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International case that declared claims that are drawn to a patent-ineligible abstract idea are not eligible under Section 101. The court has left room for software patents to validated, but patents that take an abstract idea and provide a computer to implement it are invalidated.

In case, the Supreme Court held that the claims of Alice Corp.’s patents for mitigating settlement risk were drawn to an abstract idea of intermediated settlement, and that requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention under section 101 of the Patent Act. In finding Alice Corp.’s patent invalid, the Court affirmed a Federal Circuit judgment during a term where Federal Circuit decisions had been unanimously reversed with regularity.  

“The Supreme Court has long held that ‘laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas’ are not patentable. Courts have found it difficult to find a workable test that separates unpatentable abstract ideas from patentable inventions that apply abstract ideas,” he explained. “The prior test adopted by the Federal Circuit was not well suited for evaluating software inventions and as a result the patentability of software came into question.”

Contributing Author

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Amanda Ciccatelli

Amanda G. Ciccatelli is a Contributing Writer for InsideCounsel, where she covers the patent litigation space. Amanda earned a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from...

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